China, Travel, Uncategorized

Big News and Deep Thoughts

We’ve known for a while but I guess it’s time to make it official…we’re moving to Singapore!

My feelings on the subject vacillate between being excited to being very excited to panic. There are many things I will not miss: the pollution, worrying about how many chemicals I’m ingesting by eating an apple, the pollution, watching grown men pee on the sidewalk, the pollution. And, from what I’ve read (or what I’ve chosen to read) Singapore is a verifed tropical paradise. A modern day Eden (except the poisonous apple is, apparently, heat. Hot, humid, soupy heat.)  Clean air, cheap and easy jaunts to exotic Southeast Asian lands, great food, and the carefree attitude that people in tropical paradises seem to exude — for all these reasons, I am excited.

But still.

What if it’s too hot? What if, by November 30, I’m longing for a little nip in the air? What if my fair skinned, red headed boy melts in all that sun? What do I say when they ask to play with Juan or Margot or Henry? And I never even saw the Terra Cotta Warriors.

There is so much of China that is still a mystery to me. And to say that I lived here for nearly two years and still can’t carry on a basic conversation is sad. And embarrassing. What have I been doing? I console myself by remembering that much of the US is still a mystery to me too. There are so many places I have not discovered in my own country that being hard on myself for not seeing more of this vast and diverse place in a mere 2 years doesn’t seem so regrettable. If only we had a little more time.

No matter where we go or what we are doing, we’re programmed to want more time. More time on vacation. More time with our babies. More time with our aging parents. More time to do our jobs. More time to make money. More time to live.

Why does enough sometimes not feel like enough? Haven’t I had enough time? Haven’t I done enough?

In the past 3 weeks, I have taken a 5 hour train ride to Beijing, a 2.5 hour flight to Hong Kong and spent more time in the Shanghai metro than I have in 2 years. And it was fun and refreshing and inspiring. But the panic of not seeing and doing began to set in. China is huge and I’ve barely seen 2 of its cities.

But I remember why we haven’t actually seen that much and what I’ve been doing. Living: with big and awkward strollers and crumbs nestled between dirty tissues in my bag; with lovely but young boys who need naps and space to run; surrounded by most people to whom I can’t communicate and who have different customs (like not worrying about dirty tissues because, who needs tissues in the first place?); in a place where the air is sometimes thick with poison. All of that, can sometimes make it more appealing to sit on the couch.

And I remember life isn’t about keeping score. It’s not about what you did or didn’t see, what you ate or didn’t eat, or how much you made or didn’t make, despite what Social Media Syndrome will have you believe. (Can I ™ that? Social Media Syndrome: the idea that we constantly have to be seeing and doing and outdoing and outseeing everybody else.)  More importantly, is how you enjoy life. Sometimes I enjoy it very much on my couch. And sometimes I enjoy it very much walking the Great Wall.

I (try to) appreciate the time I am given. I know I am lucky to be here (in China — and since I’m getting all deep and philosophical — on earth, at all). And I am grateful that worrying about whether I’ve seen enough of China is the most of my worries.

And so, I will not wish for more time. (I can’t get it.) Nor wonder if I’ve seen enough of China. (I haven’t.) I will not let myself succumb to SMS. I will likely never see the Terra Cotta Warriors. And that’s ok. I’m not keep score.


Our adventure will continue in Singapore at the beginning of July. I hope you’ll follow us there!

2 thoughts on “Big News and Deep Thoughts”

  1. Hi Kathleen! I don’t think a lifetime would be enough to really explore China. I had grand plans but a pregnant belly and fear of the smog stopped me in my tracks. I never made it to Shanghai. We have to take what we can get in this life, and we have experience so much more than most by having the chance to live in this amazing country. Good luck in Singapore. Look forward to following your adventures there 🙂 Bex


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